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Apple Arcade: Everything You Need to Know About the New Video Game Subscription Service

Apple said that its Apple Arcade video game subscription service would cost $4.99 a month when it debuts on September 19.

The technology giant announced the details of Apple Arcade on Tuesday during the company’s iPhone 11 event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in Cupertino, Calif.

Ann Thai, an Apple app store product lead, said that Apple Arcade subscribers will get their first month free and that they can share the service with up to five family members. The video game subscription service will also be available in over 150 countries, Thai said.

At the Apple Event, it was announced that Apple Arcade subscribers will get access to 100 exclusive games that will only be playable on Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, Mac computers, and the Apple TV device.

Thai said that the video game subscription service will let them play the games directly from the App Store so they won't have to pay for each individual app. People will also be able to play the games offline from their Apple devices and the service will sync their gameplay so that they can play from their iPads and then pick up where they left off from their iPhones, for instance.

The App Store will also have a dedicated section to the Apple Arcade that will show people the latest games each month and “expert editorial content like game guides and sneak peaks,” Thai said.

Apple’s video game subscription service comes amid a current battle between tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon to dominate the nascent market of cloud gaming services. Unlike the other new cloud gaming subscription services offered by Google and Microsoft, Apple said in its marketing materials that its Apple Arcade is "download to play, online or off."

Unlike competing game streaming and subscription services like Google Stadia or Microsoft’s Project Xcloud, Apple Arcade is emphasizing more kid-friendly and lighthearted games, not graphically intense first-person shooters or AAA video games (the equivalent of Hollywood blockbusters) that the other companies say will be available on their services.

Here are the three games Apple highlighted during the event:

Frogger in Toy Town

An executive from the game developer Konami showed off a brief demonstration of “Frogger in Toy Town,” essentially modern-day version of the popular 1980’s arcade game.

Instead of navigating a digital frog safely across a road, players will be able to control their frog in multiple, colorful levels like a household bathroom. Players will also be able to collect power-ups and can dress their frog in outfits like bathing suits.

Shinsekai: Into the Depths

The game developer Capcom showed off a demo of “Shinsekai: Into the Depths,” in which players can control an underwater explorer who is venturing throughout a dangerous underwater terrain.

Capcom producer Peter Farbiano said that the company “crafted every detail of the world to make it feel authentic.”   

“We recorded sound effects underwater,” he said.

Sayonara Wild Hearts

Annapurna Interactive producer Kelsey Hansen showed off a demo of “Sayonara Wild Hearts,” which resembled a futuristic racing game with lots of neon lights.

In the game, users will play as a “heartbroken heroine” who must race across a city and find pieces of her heart. Hansen likened the game to an interactive music video.

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